The Essay

In a recent post on his blog (1), Craig Fischer, shared this quote:

An essay is a search to find out what one thinks about something. –Phillip Lopate, “In Search of the Centaur: the Essay-Film.”

In a way that sums up my feeling about the criticism I write. To write about something I’ve read is a way to pull out what I really think about that experience, to examine it and figure out… why? what? how?

Craig goes on to discuss the personal essay, and it’s got me thinking again about style in my own writing. I feel like my criticism too often feels sterile and personality-free. Too often I follow a formula of introduction, plot summary, and a series of formal examinations followed by a brief conclusion. I’d like bring a more lively sense of interest to my writing, to be more expressive and dynamic without sacrificing the formal examination which is one of my primary interests. This is something I need to think about more. I should probably take a closer look at critics whose work I really enjoy and respect.

1. Fischer, Craig. “Our Eddie: How to Be an Artist (Craig Responds).” Thought Balloonists (2 July 2008).